Below are the official 2018 Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Kayla Raymond, Oliver Ames
Hockomock League All Stars
Samantha Pierce, Attleboro
Hannah Jerrier, Canton
Ashley Sampson, Foxboro
Lily Sykes, Foxboro
Bea Bondhus, Franklin
Ali Brigham, Franklin
Shannon O’Connor, King Philip
Meg Hill, Mansfield
Ann Maher, Mansfield
Kate Irwin, Milford
Emily Piergustavo, Milford
Julia Santos, North Attleboro
Kayla Raymond, Oliver Ames
Emma Eberhardt, Sharon
Val Whalen, Stoughton
Aliyah Wright, Stoughton
Lily Patneaude, Taunton
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – After a slow start, the game and season seemed lost for fifth seeded Oliver Ames (16-6), which had fallen behind by as many as 15 points in the third quarter and trailed 44-30 after Shannon Lynch (14 points) nailed her third three-pointer of the third, but it turned out to be the moment when the Tigers finally got going.
OA rallied with an 18-2 run, sparked by league MVP Kayla Raymond’s 11 points in the third and a strong performance off the bench by freshman Caroline Flynn (15 points), which put the Tigers improbably ahead by two and provided an exciting finish to a game that fourth seeded Bridgewater-Raynham had largely controlled.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, the Trojans had a comeback of their own and it proved decisive.
Raymond (19 points) scored to put OA ahead 53-51, but the Trojans responded with the game’s final 10 points and pulled out a 61-53 victory that sends them into the Div. 1 South semifinal to face top seed Newton South and ended OA’s first tournament run since moving up to D1 this winter.
“They were just a little bit anxious,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “It was the first time for all of them, with the exception of Kayla, to have experience in the postseason after the first round. I think the fact that there was some level of inexperience, but that’s just trying to get the jitterbugs out.”
She added, “You’ve got to play the whole game and we didn’t.”
Although OA would lead 9-8 after the first quarter, it was a sluggish start for the Tigers. Turnovers would plague OA for the entire first half, as it racked up 18 of them, many of which were unforced. Raymond and junior Alex Sheldon, the team’s two leading scorers were held to just one basket apiece in the first, sophomore Erin Holmberg picked up early foul trouble and senior Abby Reardon went to the bench for a spell due to an injury.
It was not the start that the Tigers were hoping for and gave the Trojans the opportunity to build an early lead. Sheldon (10 points and 10 rebounds) drove to the basket for an old-fashioned three-point play that tied the game at 17-17, but B-R closed the half with nine straight, including five from Kaleigh Matulonis (19 points).
“Once we settled down, we played our game,” said Clement-Holbrook. “I just thought in the second quarter, for whatever the reason was, we weren’t focused. We brought it back and we were starting to show signs of who we are. We missed a close out in the corner, [they] hit a couple threes, because we were helping on penetration.”
The Tigers showed flashes early in the third quarter of being able to get back into the game. Raymond got a three-point play off a Katie Flynn inbound pass, Caroline Flynn hit a runner on the baseline, and Raymond closed the gap to eight with a steal and transition bucket, but each time the Trojans had an answer from deep.
When Raymond ended the third with a corner three off a Holmberg pass, it cut the lead to 44-33 and gave the Tigers a little bit of energy, but it did not seem at the time that it would kick off a furious comeback.
Meg Holleran added a three to start the fourth quarter and Sheldon followed with a finish in traffic and then another dive to the rim plus the foul that made it a four-point game. The traveling OA fans were making a ton of noise, the bench was fired up, and the Tigers were back in a game that seemed over just a few minutes earlier.
“I think it was just the confidence of let’s do what we do, let’s do what got us here,” Clement-Holbrook explained. “Move the ball, get the ball inside. We settled for way too many outside shots early in possessions without making them work defensively.”
Raymond got out in transition for two and Reardon tied the game off a Sheldon assist before Flynn gave the Tigers their first lead since the second quarter with a pair of free throws.
“You were hoping we would have gotten that kind of play from everybody,” said Clement-Holbrook about the play of Caroline Flynn. “She’s a gamer and she’s going to give you everything she has. In terms of her development from the start of the season, she’s come miles.”
After two B-R free throws, Victoria Dacey gave the Trojans back the lead with a three, but Flynn answered right back with a three to tie it and Raymond got open on another inbounds pass for a layup with a little more than two minutes to play, putting OA in front.
On the next B-R possession, the Trojans got into the lane forcing OA to help off the three-point line, which left Matulonis alone for a big shot to regain the lead. Kylee Piche would add four straight points to make it a five-point edge and the Trojans hit free throws to seal the win, while OA struggled to knock down shots on the other end in the final minute.
Clement-Holbrook remarked, “They were playing a little too cautiously with that extra stress on them and they just didn’t handle the pressure well.”
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – The first half was a shootout between the top scorers on each team with New Bedford sophomore Chiron Rose and Oliver Ames senior Kayla Raymond going head-to-head, scoring 15 points apiece. But, it is hard to win a playoff game on the back of one player, even someone like Raymond, the Stonehill-bound Hockomock MVP.
In the second half, the rest of the Tigers took over. Raymond still got her points in the third (before sitting for the entire fourth quarter) but it was OA’s depth that turned a six-point lead at the half into a 69-39 victory over the 12th seeded Whalers in the Tigers’ first postseason game since moving to Div. 1.
“They came out with fire in their eyeballs,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “It was amazing. In the third quarter, we were pushing the pace. We knew that was something that we had to do, we knew we had to run, and I thought the kids did a great job of allowing New Bedford just one shot.”
Rose came out firing and got the sizable traveling contingent from New Bedford excited from the opening whistle. She buried a pair of step-back threes and had eight points in the first to help the Whalers get off to a 8-2 start. The Tigers took a few minutes to get going but then Raymond started to take over and helped OA finish the first on a 14-2 run.
She scored on a feed from sophomore Erin Holmberg then added one of her six blocks on the defensive end, which was rebounded by Katie Flynn (10 rebounds) who then fired an outlet pass to Raymond for a transition basket. She assisted on a three-point play for Alex Sheldon (19 points and 13 rebounds), drilled a three and hit a long jumper.
Rose got off to a great start in the second, scoring the first seven points to put New Bedford back in front at 17-16, but Raymond answered right back with layup off a Meg Holleran assist. Abby Reardon (seven points) and Raymond both scored off two more of Holleran’s five assists and then Raymond added a layup around the out-stretched arms of New Bedford’s 6-foot-2 center Janice Leao (13 rebounds).
A three by Kyara Almeida-Sylvia cut the OA lead to six at the break and a Rose three and a pair from beyond the arc by Monica Eires kept the Whalers in the game, down just 34-29. The Tigers would score the game’s next 13 points and in total put together a 25-2 run that finally broke the game open.
“We had a couple match-up situations, but I thought we remedied them in the second half,” Clement-Holbrook said. “The unsung heroes like Katie Flynn inside just helping on Leao and just from a collective defensive principle I think that’s where we got the points from. We shut them down and just ran the floor.”
Freshman Caroline Flynn got it started with a drive to the rim and she added three assists in the second half. Holmberg scored all eight of her points in the third quarter, finding leak-out opportunities for transition buckets. Sheldon was also a force in the paint, scoring 11 of her 19 points in the second half.
Clement-Holbrook said of Sheldon’s contributions, “She was absolutely, positively key in all this because everyone’s trying to take away Kayla and the fact that we could get the ball inside…we’re just sending shuffle cuts and good movement and that allowed Alex to get the ball and she’s very physical and she’s very strong. She came to play today.”
Raymond, who finished with a line of 23 points, seven rebounds, six blocks, four assists and three steals, was still doing her thing in the third, capping the quarter by picking Rose clean at one end and swooping in for a finger roll at the other. The New Bedford guard, who was held to three points in the second half, was left with a wry smile on her face as she looked up to the rafters following the steal.
“Rose in the first half, she was money and we gave her a little too much room to wiggle,” Clement-Holbrook explained. “In the second half we did a much better job. When we switched Kayla on her, I thought Kayla’s length really bothered her.”
OA led 51-31 after three quarters. The Tigers scored one fewer point in the third than they had in the entire first half. That continued in the fourth quarter as Tate Hadges came off the bench and scored all six of her points, Sheldon continued to control the paint and a trip to the Div. 1 South quarterfinal was confirmed.
When it was mentioned to Clement-Holbrook that the move to Div. 1 seems to be going well, she smiled and replied, “Currently, but we’ll see how these things go.”
Oliver Ames (16-5) will travel to No. 4 seed Bridgewater-Raynham in the quarterfinal round on Saturday, barring a change because of the impending storm.
Today’s games are listed below.
Stoughton, 61 @ Waltham, 71 – Final – Stoughton scored 42 points in the second half and outscored the host Hawks over the last two quarters but the Black Knights couldn’t overcome a slow first half. The Knights shot just 25% from the floor in the opening half, falling behind 37-19 at the break. Stoughton hit five threes in the second half to help close the gap. Senior Cam Andrews had a game-high 21 points and 13 rebounds while classmate Colin Sanda had eight points, six rebounds, and five assists. Both Andrews and Sanda were named to the all-tournament team.
Taunton, 71 @ Catholic Memorial, 90 – Final
Canton, 65 @ Weymouth, 59 – Final (OT) – Click here for a Recap from this game.
Foxboro, 58 vs. Natick, 45 – Final – Ashley Sampson scored 27 points and Foxboro closed out the regular season by winning the Warrior Classic and sewing up the top seed in Div. 2 South. Sampson was named the tournament MVP after a 29-point performance on Monday and Lily Sykes was named to the all-tournament team.
Franklin, 52 vs. Shepherd Hill, 43 – Final – Ali Brigham and Bea Bondhus combined for 31 points to help the Panthers beat the top seed at the Westboro tournament and one of the top seeds in the Central. Franklin will face Hopkinton in the tournament final on Thursday night.
Oliver Ames, 77 vs Duxbury, 74 – Final (2 OT) – Oliver Ames sophomore Meg Holleran hit a pair of late three-pointers to help the Tigers edge the Dragons in the Norwell Invitational. “Key combinations of grit and determination earned the win,” said OA head coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. Senior Kayla Raymond had a team-high 22 points and 12 rebounds while classmate Abby Reardon had 12 points, including some key free throws down the stretch. Alex Sheldon added nine points and eight rebounds for the Tigers.
Canton, 2 vs. Medfield, 0 – Final – Canton senior Bubba McNeice scored in the first period and junior Ryan Nolte scored in the second to give the Bulldogs a win in the first round of the Joe Quinn Memorial Tournament. Quinn Gibbs recorded the shutout in net. Canton advances to the finals and will take on host Coyle & Cassidy on Thursday at 7:30.
Oliver Ames, 6 vs. Sandwich, 0 – Final – Max Ward recorded a hat trick to lead the Tigers to a big win in the consolation game of the Jeff Hayes Memorial Tournament. Colin Bourne and Brett Williams each scored once in the first period while senior Adam Healy scored in the second. Rory Madden had two assists while sophomore Owen Connor made 16 saves to earn the shutout.
Taunton, 8 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final – Taunton senior Will Walsh recorded a hat trick to pace the Tigers past the Black Knights at Asiaf Arena.
Today’s games are listed below.
Attleboro, 70 @ Taunton, 45 – Final – Attleboro’s offense was clicking on Friday night, shooting over 60% from the field in a win over the Tigers. With the win, Attleboro qualifies for the state tournament. The Bombardiers were 29-for-48 from the field, including eight three-pointers. Sophomore Bryant Ciccio had a career-high 24 points along with seven assists, Kevin Velazquez and senior Nate Douglas each added 13 points apiece and sophomore Qualeem Charles had six points and 13 rebounds.
Stoughton, 56 @ Canton, 65 – Final – Canton added to its lead after each of the first three quarters to beat Stoughton and clinch a share of the Davenport division title, the program’s first Hock title since 1992. The Bulldogs led 11-8 after one, 32-26 at halftime and 47-37 heading into the fourth. Senior Jake Verille scored a career-high 20 points while classmate Austin Maffie poured in 20 points and hauled in 10 rebounds to pace Canton. Colin Sanda had 15 points and four assists for the Black Knights.
North Attleboro, 38 @ Foxboro, 56 – Final
King Philip, 49 @ Franklin, 62 – Final – Franklin pulled away in the fourth quarter to hold off an upset attempt from King Philip. The Panthers led 36-35 going into the final period and scored 26 points to secure the win. Senior Paul Mahon paced Franklin with 21 points while junior Jalen Samuels added 17 points.
Mansfield, 59 @ Oliver Ames, 48 – Final
Milford, 72 @ Sharon, 55 – Final – Milford scored 45 points in the first half, running away with a win over a division foe on the road. Junior Brendan White scored a game-high 24 points, Andrew Fraioli (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Kayden Kelley (10 points, 12 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles and Zach Tammaro chipped in with 13 points. Sharon senior Malik Lorquet scored a team-high 20 points for the Eagles.
Taunton, 42 @ Attleboro, 43 – Final – Jordyn Lako hit a go-ahead free throw with eight seconds left and Liv McCall sealed the win with a steal three seconds later. Sam Pierce scored 14 points to lead the Bombardiers, while Nyah Thomas added eight. Hannah Moniz was Taunton’s top scorer with 10 points.
Canton, 48 @ Stoughton, 49 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
Foxboro, 66 @ North Attleboro, 41 – Final – Lily Sykes scored a team-high 23 points for the Warriors, who capped off the program’s first perfect season in the Hockomock League.
Franklin, 57 @ King Philip, 41 – Final
Oliver Ames, 49 @ Mansfield, 42 – Final – Oliver Ames pulled away late, breaking open a 34-34 game by going 5-for-5 from the line and scoring off its defense down the stretch to earn a split of the season series with the Hornets. Abby Reardon and Caroline Flynn each came up with key free throws during that stretch. Kayla Raymond led the way for the Tigers with 14 points and Erin Holmberg added 11. Maggie Danehy had 13 and Mady Bendanillo had 10 for Mansfield.
Sharon, 55 @ Milford, 62 – Final – Emily Piergustavo celebrated senior night with a career-high in points and a triple-double to help the Hawks close out the regular season with a win. Piergustavo scored 27 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. Julie Rabinowitz scored 14 for Milford, knocking down four three-pointers. Emma Eberhardt was Sharon’s top scorer with 27 points, while Telishya Herbert had 15 and Kaitlyn Wallace has 11.
Today’s games are listed below.
Attleboro, 44 @ Franklin, 59 – Final – Franklin led by three at halftime (26-23) but broke the game open with a 24-point third quarter. The Panthers outscored the visitors 24-13 in the third quarter to create the big lead. Junior Jalen Samuels led the Panthers with 18 points.
Canton, 34 @ Foxboro, 39 – Final – Click here for a recap of this game.
King Philip, 39 @ Mansfield, 79 – Final – Mansfield built a 17-6 lead after eight minutes but broke the game open with a 27-point second quarter. The Hornets put the game to bed with a 19-9 fourth quarter. John McCoy (six rebounds, four steals) led the Hornets with 20 points while Damani Scott (five rebounds) and Tyler Boulter each had 10 points apiece. The Hornets hit 13 three-pointers as a team with eight different players connecting for at least one.
North Attleboro, 36 @ Milford, 58 – Final – Milford hit three of their six three-pointers in the first quarter and held the Rocketeers to just one field goal, building an 18-4 lead and never looking back. Junior Brendan White scored 17 points, Andrew Fraioli scored 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds and senior Zach Tammaro had 15 points for the Hawks. Josh Montague led Big Red with 15 points while classmate Jake Petersen had 10 points.
Taunton, 71 @ Oliver Ames, 44 – Final – Taunton sophomore Dante Law scored 13 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter, helping the Tigers race out to a 25-10 lead after eight minutes of play. Taunton led 48-22 and then held the host Tigers to just seven points in the third quarter. Senior Lens Esquil added 16 points for Taunton while classmate Tyler Medeiros chipped in with nine points. Jack Spillane had a team-high 12 points for OA.
Stoughton, 76 @ Sharon, 81 – Final – Sharon senior Malik Lorquet led the Eagles with 22 points while both Jimmy Fitzhenry and Demetri Mousis chipped in with 14 points apiece. Sharon led 36-33 at halftime and 59-52 at the end of three quarters. Cam Andrews had a team-high 21 points for Stoughton while David Bell had 16 points and Colin Sanda chipped in with 12 points for the Black Knights.
Franklin, 46 @ Attleboro, 39 – Final – Ali Brigham dominated the game for the Panthers, recording 27 points and 28 rebounds in the victory.
Foxboro, 81 @ Canton, 32 – Final – Ashley Sampson and Katelyn Mollica each scored 23 points to lead the Warriors, who are one win away from a perfect league campaign. Canton needs one win in its final two games to clinch a spot in the postseason.
Mansfield, 51 @ King Philip, 32 – Final – Mansfield broke the game open in the second half after leading 19-16 at the break. With the win, the Hornets clinch the outright Kelley-Rex division title. Maggie Danehy led the way for the Hornets with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Ann Maher added eight. Faith Roy was KP’s top scorer with 13 points. KP coach Amy Siggens called it a “total team effort” and praised her team’s “aggressiveness” on both ends of the floor.
Milford, 45 @ North Attleboro, 55 – Final – Click here for a Recap and a Photo Gallery from this game.
Oliver Ames, 63 @ Taunton, 34 – Final – Oliver Ames led by just five at halftime (28-23) but won the game behind a dominant second-half performance. Senior Kayla Raymond had a team-high 16 points and hauled in nine rebounds and Tate Hadges added 10 points and seven boards.
Sharon, 37 @ Stoughton, 55 – Final – Stoughton won for the ninth time in its last 10 games to bounce back from a 1-7 start to the season and clinch a postseason berth with two games left in the regular season. The Black Knights also clinched second place in the Davenport division. Aliyah Wright (four steals) was the top scorer with 16 points, while Lindsay McDonald and Sydnee Hyacinthe (eight assists) each added 10. Kaitlyn Wallace had 12 for the Eagles and Miranda Cheung had nine.
Stoughton, 0 @ Canton, 10 – Final
Today’s games are listed below.
Oliver Ames, 57 @ Attleboro, 46 – Final
Sharon, 58 @ Canton, 86 – Final – Canton senior Tony Harris poured in 26 of his 33 points in the first half and junior Devin Foster finished with 26 points as the Bulldogs picked up a big win over Sharon. Sharon sophomore Aidan Kane had a career-high 14 points for the Eagles.
Foxboro, 51 @ Milford, 59 – Final – Foxboro raced out to a 9-0 but Milford stormed back to take a slim lead after one. Foxboro regained its advantage at halftime (33-28) but the Hawks struck back, outscoring the Warriors 15-6 in the third to lead 43-39. Kayden Kelley (10 rebounds), Andrew Fraioli (11 rebounds) and Brendan White all had 15 points apiece for Milford. Joe Morrison led the Warriors with a career-high 28 points.
Franklin, 47 @ Mansfield, 59 – Final – Click here for a recap of this game.
Taunton, 68 @ King Philip, 36 – Final
Stoughton, 51 @ North Attleboro, 42 – Final – Stoughton had a strong opening quarter and used the lead it created in the period to beat North. The Knights outscored the Rocketeers 17-8 in the opening quarter, the teams both combined for 34 points each over the next three quarters. Stoughton’s Cam Andrews led all scorers with 22 points while junior Owen Nassaney had 13 points for North.
Attleboro, 41 @ Oliver Ames, 52 – Final – Oliver Ames’ Kayla Raymond scored 30 points, hitting the 1,000 point mark for her career in the win. Raymond, who is the ninth female player in OA history to reach the milestone, also had 11 rebounds and four steals. Check out the video below.
Congrats to Kay Ray for scoring the 1000th point of her career tonight!!! Way to go! pic.twitter.com/o7QtA3Fgnc
— Bill Matthews (@OAHSTigersports) February 10, 2018
Canton, 53 @ Sharon, 36 – Final – The Bulldogs moved within one game of clinching a playoff berth with the road win against the Eagles. Hannah Jerrier once again paced Canton with a double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Erin Devine chipped in with 12 points, eight rebounds, and six blocks. Emma Eberhardt led the Eagles with 14 and Evanjuline Elisma added seven.
Milford, 26 @ Foxboro, 80 – Final – Ashley Sampson led the Warriors with 21 points, while Lily Sykes and Shannon Smally each added 10 for Foxboro, which continued its unbeaten run through the league. All 10 players scored for the Warriors.
Mansfield, 62 @ Franklin, 48 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
King Philip, 71 @ Taunton, 61 – Final
North Attleboro, 46 @ Stoughton, 57 – Final – Stoughton bounced back from its loss to Stoughton behind Val Whalen’s 19 points and 16 rebounds, her second double-double against the Rocketeers this season, and 17 points from Aliyah Wright. With the win, the Black Knights get back to .500 on the season.
King Philip, 1 @ North Attleboro, 2 – Final
Stoughton @ Plymouth, 4:30
Today’s games are listed below.
Attleboro, 46 @ Mansfield, 64 – Final
Canton, 44 @ Milford, 45 – Final – Milford junior Brendan White hit a three with 0.4 seconds left while being fouled, elevating the Hawks to a win after a wild final minute. Milford had a 42-40 lead with under 30 seconds to play and even got a stop but a jump ball gave Canton the ball back. Devin Foster (17 points) hit three free throws after being fouled to take a 43-42 lead, and after a Milford turnover, Foster hit another free throw to give the Dogs a 44-42 lead. But White took a pass from Kayden Kelley (10 points, 10 rebounds) and hit the winning shot while being fouled. Andrew Fraioli added 11 points and 12 rebounds for Milford while Tony Harris had 16 points for Canton.
Foxboro, 59 @ Stoughton, 53 – Final – Foxboro hit six three-pointers in a 30-point third quarter, turning a 32-16 deficit at halftime into a 46-46 tie heading into the fourth quarter. Bobby Harrison scored five of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter while Joe Morrison added 12 points and Matt Rongione had 11 points, including three triples in the third. Anthony Mollica added five of his eight points in the fourth quarter for Foxboro. Stoughton senior Cam Andrews had a team-high 18 points while senior Steevens Phelimond had a career-high 16 points for the Knights.
Franklin, 63 @ Taunton, 51 – Final – Click here for a recap of this game.
Oliver Ames, 60 @ King Philip, 68 – Final
Sharon, 45 @ North Attleboro, 58 – Final – North Attleboro senior Chad Peterson returned from injury and scored a career-high 23 points, draining seven three-pointers to lead the Rocketeers to a win over Sharon. Peterson hit four triples in the opening quarter, two more in the second and another in the fourth. North led 34-27 at halftime and 43-38 at the end of three. The Rocketeers clinched the game with a 15-7 fourth quarter. Josh Montague added 11 points for Big Red while Jacob Petersen finished with eight points. Sharon’s Malik Lorquet had 19 points, 10 rebounds, and nine blocks while Alex Kaufmann added 14 points.
Mansfield, 58 @ Attleboro, 40 – Final – Meg Hill had her 12th double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds and she also added four blocks. Hill is now seven points shy of 1,000 for her career. Ann Maher and Sydney Mulkern each added nine points for the Hornets. Sam Pierce paced Attleboro with 11 points and Liv McCall added eight.
Milford, 42 @ Canton, 38 – Final
Stoughton, 19 @ Foxboro, 74 – Final – Foxboro went on a 17-0 run after the opening basket by Stoughton to take control and added a 10-0 run to close out the first half. Ashley Sampson was the game’s top scorer with 18 points, while Grace Tamulionis added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors. Foxboro also got 12 points from Lily Sykes and nine points from Abby Hassman. Val Whalen led the Black Knights with six.
Taunton, 42 @ Franklin, 69 – Final
King Philip, 45 @ Oliver Ames, 61 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Kayla Raymond continued her stellar play this season, scoring 31 points and hauling in 10 rebounds to led the Tigers to a win at home. Alex Sheldon added nine points and 14 rebounds while Erin Holmberg chipped in with eight points.
North Attleboro, 47 @ Sharon, 24 – Final
Mansfield, 146.8 @ Oliver Ames, 142.1 – Final
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames and Franklin had a lot on the line in Friday night’s game at the William F. Nixon Gym. The teams were tied for second place in the Kelley-Rex division and trying to stay within two games of league-leading Mansfield (which has to play both the Panthers and Tigers again this year), while OA was also trying to clinch its spot in the state tournament.
Behind 29 points from senior forward Kayla Raymond and defensive adjustments strong contributions off the bench in the second half, OA rallied from three points down at the break for a 61-54 come from behind victory and a split of the season series with the Panthers.
In the first half, everything offensively for the Tigers ran through Raymond. The Stonehill-commit scored 12 of OA’s 14 points in the first quarter, twice scoring on three-point plays taking the ball to the basket. She added another four in the second in the second, while Caroline Flynn knocked down a three and Abby Reardon added four.
With Raymond on one side and Katie Flynn or Alex Sheldon giving weakside help, OA double-teamed Franklin center Ali Brigham, forcing the Panthers to find scoring on the perimeter. Junior guard Bea Bondhus stepped right in and drilled four threes in the first half, scoring 14 of her team-high 18 points in the process.
Teagan Collins also nailed one from outside, as Franklin closed the half on an 11-4 run to lead 28-25.
“That was the game plan, don’t leave Bondhus alone,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “We lost her and she had 14 points in the first half. All I wrote on the board at halftime was 21 (Bondhus) [has] 14, that’s all. Defensively, we needed to make a couple of adjustments and I thought we did.”
OA switched to man-to-man and upped the full-court pressure to try and keep the ball out of Bondhus’ hands. After Raymond tied the game with a three, Megan O’Connell (11 points) scored off a Kelsey MacCallum assist. Erin Holmberg (seven points) hit a three to give OA a lead, but Brigham (14 points and 11 rebounds) answered with a three-point play on an offensive rebound.
“They can make it very tough,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “They made it so other kids had to score by focusing on Ali and Bea. I thought we countered it pretty well and we had some kids step up. We worked tremendously hard.”
Raymond continued to pour in the points, showing off nifty footwork under the basket to go up and under for a layup with Brigham on her back, but OA also started to get contributions off the bench. Caroline Flynn (six points) scored on a putback, while Meg Holleran and freshman Tori Harney also chipped in on both ends of the floor.
“They did a great job,” said Clement-Holbrook of the bench effort. “Honestly, we started see that become a part of who we are against Foxboro. I think from that point forward that’s what we want and I think they’re starting to believe a little more.”
OA caught Franklin in the press and Katie Flynn hit Raymond with a perfect pass over the top of the defense for a layup. It was one of five assists for Flynn, who caused problems for the Franklin defense in the high post. The senior also added four points, six steals, two blocks, and four rebounds.
“It’s not fancy, flashy,” said Clement-Holbrook about Flynn’s contributions. “That was one of the things we keyed on to try and get Brigham away from the rim. We had to come up with a scheme to see if we could get her out or over and Katie did such a great job because she hit some nice backdoor passes.”
OA led 44-39 heading to the fourth and Raymond drained a long jumper to get the final quarter started. Franklin would not go away, cutting the lead back down to four. The Tigers stretched it back out to nine on a basket by Holmberg and a jumper by Ally Scolnick, who came off the bench to score all seven of her points in the fourth.
“Kayla was kind of a one-man band in the first half,” said Leighton, “but in the second they got kids some open shots, especially in the transition when we were pressing.”
Clement-Holbrook explained, “Offensively, we did a reasonably good job of opening things up. The first time we played them with Brigham sitting in the middle like that it kind of took us a little while to figure things out. Because we moved people around, I think it made it a little more difficult for them to defend us.”
Brigham scored plus the foul off a feed from O’Connell to keep Franklin within six, but Raymond found Flynn with a wraparound pass on the baseline for a layup. Shannon Gray answered with a three on the other end, but OA beat the press and Scolnick set up Raymond for an easy basket. Raymond then returned the favor for a Scolnick bucket in transition.
“We gave up too many easy ones at the end,” Leighton said. “I thought we might be able to hang with them, but once they started getting those easy ones then they were able to pull away.”